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Cops: Why we think skull is Caylee's

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Police give three reasons they think body might be Caylee's
  • Lawyer says investigators tentatively ID body as Caylee's
  • Judge denies defense request that its experts be present for autopsy
  • Hair, age, measurements of remains match toddler, police and attorneys say
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ORLANDO, Florida (CNN) -- Investigators said Friday that they think remains found near a home where Caylee Anthony lived with her grandparents are those of the missing toddler.

Police searched Caylee's grandparents' home and took bags and boxes of potential evidence.

Caylee Anthony, 3, has been missing since June in a case that has received national attention.

But, they added, police and prosecutors are waiting until DNA and other tests are completed before making a positive identification.

Orange County, Florida, sheriff's spokesman Carlos Padilla gave three reasons for the belief the body is Caylee's:

• No other children have been reported missing in the area.

• The remains are consistent with a child of Caylee's age.

• They were found in close proximity to the home of Caylee's grandparents.

Caylee Anthony was 2 when she disappeared in June. Her mother, Casey Anthony, 22, didn't report her missing for a month and is charged with murder.

The first word that the corpse found Thursday had been tentatively identified as Caylee's came as her mother's attorneys sought a court order allowing them to observe the autopsy and conduct their own forensic tests.

Lawyer Linda Kenney Baden said in court that investigators told the defense team they "were proceeding as if this were little Caylee Anthony."

Strands of hair found with the remains, discovered Thursday a half-mile from the home of Caylee's grandparents, are the same color as the girl's, the lawyer said. The age and measurements also were a match for Caylee, Baden added.

Casey Anthony, 22, was charged in October with killing her daughter, but her lawyers insist that she is innocent.

Prosecutors said defense requests to be present at the autopsy and have access to remains were premature, given that the remains have not been positively identified. The defense countered that a tentative identification had been made. Video Watch how the corpse resembles Caylee »

"What I don't want to see, bluntly, is 24 hours after viewing an autopsy, a defense expert on a national news show describing this child's remains," prosecutor Jeff Ashton argued. "The specter of that is nauseating to me."

He called it "egregious" to allow "strangers to be present for the autopsy of a young child."

Also, Orange County attorney Tamara Gappen told 9th Circuit Judge Stan Strickland that Florida law spells out procedures for the preservation of evidence that are routinely followed by medical examiners in criminal cases.

Strickland agreed and denied the defense request.

Casey Anthony, who is being held in the Orange County Jail, did not attend Friday's hearing. Asked how she had responded to the news that her daughter's remains may have been found, lawyer Jose Baez said, "It's not something that someone takes well."

Investigators had searched the home of George and Cindy Anthony, Caylee's grandparents, overnight and into early Friday. They left with several bags and boxes of potential evidence, Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary told ABC News.

Caylee and her mother had lived in the house with her grandparents, but Casey Anthony had moved into an apartment at the time Caylee disappeared.

A utility worker discovered the remains in a plastic bag about 9:30 a.m. Thursday and alerted authorities. CNN affiliate WFTV-TV reported that the utility worker, a meter reader, picked up a bag at the site Thursday morning and a skull fell out.

Also Friday, the sheriff's office released the 911 call from county utility workers who made the grim find. On the call, a field supervisor tells the dispatcher a meter reader had found a skull.

"He believes it's human ... in the Caylee Anthony area," the supervisor says.

The dispatcher responds that she will send a deputy but tells the field supervisor, "If you can, try to stress to him to please not draw attention to the area, and that would be great, just in case it is something."

Meanwhile Friday, investigators continued searching the area where the remains were found. Video Watch how a home became a crime scene »

The remains were taken to the county medical examiner's office and will be sent to the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia. Authorities said Friday that the remains had not been shipped.

Casey Anthony remains in protective custody and has no contact with other inmates, corrections officials said. Video Watch Anthony's lawyer describe how she's doing »

"She has been seen by a Corrections Health Services psychologist, and her status was reviewed," officials said in a statement, adding that she was on psychological observation, which is not the same as suicide watch.

Casey Anthony's trial, originally set for early January, has been postponed until at least March.

Prosecutors said this month that they would not seek the death penalty against Casey Anthony. She could face a sentence of life in prison if convicted.

Authorities have said Casey Anthony waited about a month before telling her family that Caylee was gone. Cindy Anthony -- Caylee's grandmother and Casey Anthony's mother -- called the Orange County sheriff's office July 15, saying her daughter would not tell her where Caylee was.

When questioned by police, Casey Anthony gave conflicting statements, including some that were later disproved, according to hundreds of documents and investigative reports released in the case.

She claimed she dropped Caylee off with a babysitter, but when police checked out her story, they learned that the address Casey Anthony supplied belonged to an apartment that had been vacant for weeks. The woman Casey Anthony named as her babysitter told police she did not know her. Review a timeline of the case »

Investigators have said that cadaver dogs picked up the scent of death in Anthony's car, as well as in her parents' backyard. They also said air quality tests conducted by the FBI found evidence consistent with human decomposition and chloroform in the car's trunk. A neighbor told police Anthony had asked to borrow a shovel.


Analysis of Anthony's computer found that she had visited Web sites discussing chloroform and had done Internet searches about missing children, according to information released in the case.

Cindy and George Anthony have said they think that the girl is still alive and that someone has her.

CNN's John Couwels and "Nancy Grace" Producer Natisha Lance contributed to this report.

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